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‘Panarchy’ is a new term coined from the name of the Greek god Pan, a symbol of universal nature and associated with unpredictable change. It represents an alternative framework for managing the issues that emerge from the interaction between people and nature. That interaction generates countless surprises, often the result of slow changes that can accumulate and unexpectedly flip an ecosystem or an economy into a qualitatively different state. That state may be not only impoverished, but also effectively irreversible. Thus, understanding how such change occurs is critical to achieving a sustainable society. Developed from the work of the Resilience Alliance, a worldwide group of leading organizations and individuals involved in ecological and economic research, Panarchy provides a framework to understand the cycles of change in complex systems and to gauge if, when, and how they can be influenced. This synopsis introduces lay readers and decision makers to this widely acclaimed line of inquiry and to the basic concept behind Panarchy, published by Island Press.